Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2548, October 30th, 2013


Eileen Sorokas speaks as Gene Kelleher, Harry Haas and Kathy Dobash listen. 
Harry Haas addresses the crowd at the Conference Center. Taffera, Heffron, Sorokus and Dobash are pictured.
Richard Heffron speaks as moderator Christine McLaughlin, Controller candidates Carolee Medico Olenginski, Michelle Bednar and others listen.
All photos by Mrs. LuLac


The candidates for Luzerne County Controller as well as the 11 people vying for Luzerne County Council met at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Luzerne County Community College Attorney Christine McLaughlin moderated the gathering and the event ran on time.
Candidates were asked to say a few words about themselves but couldn’t help themselves from launching into their platform. It always astounds me that people who run for office sometimes have a difficult time talking about themselves. But all handled that task adequately.

The challengers in the County Council race, Mike Giamber, Renee Ciarfolli Taffera, Richard Heffron, Eileen Sorokas, Linda Rossi Paul DeFabo and Kathy Dobash went on the offensive citing the failings of the fledgling form of government. The incumbents, Harry Haas, Rick Williams, Gene Kelleher and Linda McCloskey Hauck admitted that there were problems but that there was more problems facing the county then the budget. Harry Haas gave an impassioned plea saying that the County Council has taken incremental steps in getting the County out of the mess. Williams cited the cultural and social divides that enabled corruption to happen. McCloskey Hauck and Kelleher spoke of the debt as just one of the components a Council member had to deal with. Kelleher said that an entertainment assessment should be implemented throughout the county and that the money made from that would be dedicated to paying down the debt.
Giamber talked about a CEO who ran a company into the ground and how the board moved to make a change in order to have that company be more productive. Renee Ciaruffoli Taffera, said that any government, new or old had to be held accountable. Richard Heffron added that there had to be ways to gain more revenues that will pay down the debt. Heffron said that Luzerne County is the only county without a credit rating throughout the entire state. Paul DeFabo said that there should be no new taxes on an already over aged and overburdened population. Linda Rossi made some great points saying that with KOZ Zone giveaways and tax exceptions for businesses that contribute nothing to the county have driven our young people out of town. She said that other areas have benefited from our hard work throughout the years. Eileen Sorokas made the point that savings could be made through employee attrition and that it would be unfair to place a burden on taxpayers who were already paying more than their fair share. Kathy Dobash came out swinging against the current Council taking Gene Kelleher to task for voting to raise taxes and charging former Council Chair Jim Bobeck with intimidation of her at meetings. Dobash did speak to the issue of the debt.
In the Controller’s race, both Carolee Medico Olenginski and Michelle Bednar spoke. Medico Olenginski led off and stated the obvious: you know me. She spoke of her experience as well as the years fighting corruption bringing up the long forgotten Little Red Wagon debacle she exposed. Michelle Bednar touted her experience in the financial industry and said that she would be vigilant regarding taxpayer dollars.
But the big issue was the debt. And how this county is so far in the hole that there doesn’t seem to be a way out.
Prior to the meeting, I had a chat with former Commissioner Ed Brominski about how much money the county gives away in tax forgiveness. Republican Council member Gene Kelleher and I reminisced about the old Crossin and Wideman team of the 60s.
And as I sat in the beautiful Conference Center at the sprawling campus at LCCC, I realized the main frustration with the debt is this: WE HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT!
We don’t have a regionalized County Police force to get rid of ten dollar an hour cops working twice a week in a tiny borough.
We don’t have a state of the art library system that is the envy of the state.
We don’t have an economic development team that goes out and gets jobs but rather gives county welfare to fat cat businessmen who toss us a few flat screens for 5 million buck.
We spent all this money and we got squat. That’s the frustration and that more than anything else will be the main reason why people vote.
All of the candidates did talk about the county employees in relatiion to the debt but no one addressed this issue. If the County workers are underpaid and overworked, maybe the reason why there are overworked is because they don’t put in a 40 hour week like the rest of us. You’d be surprised at how much less overworked you’d be if you put in a few more hours.
Other than that minor criticism, everyone did well. Now it is up to the individual candidates and their organizations to get the vote out.


At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelleher listens??? !!!!!

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask the administration why the County will not allow employees to work 40 hours.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent the following email to Kelleher and Hass.
Just a quick note to let you know I support your reelection effort. You will get every vote I can muster and that will be a pretty good handful.
Best of luck and as a taxpayer and student of government, I appreciate your common sense approach to governing and your recognition that taxes are a part of our way of life and a necessary vehicle to get the job of government to run efficiently.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read a story in the CV that Lawton has hired a team of consultants to search for managers of the Human Services Dept. Come on, he actually presented a budget calling for a minimum of over 50 career employees to give up their jobs and have their lives turned upside down and he hires a TEAM of consultants to do his job? From the figures in the paper, he will hire 4 at $17,000 each this year and they will get $8,500 each next year. That is a total of $102,000. The low end of clerical which are the ones to be let go earn less than $24,000 each and if they get into the higher paying jobs, the average pay is about $32,000. This guy is a super ***hole and if the Council allows him to get away with this, there is absolutely NO hope for the county. I honestly can't believe the balls on this guy. Apparently he thinks he can sell a bucket of shit to the Council and they will buy it.......... obviously he's right! I'm just beside myself.


At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cant wait for the Bobeck led dictatorship of Haas, Williams and Kelleher to fall on November 5th

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear that catchy ad for Scranton Mayoral candidate Bill Courtright against Jim Mulligan? It is funny and brilliant. You have to hear it.

How about a link

At 2:35 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Hear that catchy ad for Scranton Mayoral candidate Bill Courtright against Jim Mulligan? It is funny and brilliant. You have to hear it.

How about a link


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